Applying Grout to Ceramic Tile

How to Instructions for Applying Grout

By Mark J. Donovan

There are three main aspects to installing ceramic tile: site preparation, installation of ceramic tiles, and applying grout to ceramic tiles. All three aspects play an important role in ensuring the longevity of the ceramic tile; however applying grout correctly to ceramic tile also enhances the beauty of the ceramic tile.

Functionally grout prevents water and debris from falling between the ceramic tiles. However, since grout comes in many colors it is also used to accent the ceramic tiles.

To apply grout to ceramic tile it is important that you use the right materials and tools. First, it is always best to check with the ceramic tile manufacturer to confirm the appropriate grout mix to use with the particular ceramic tiles you are using for your project.

Grout Materials Required

  • Water
  • Grout mix
  • Grout sealer

Tools Required

  • Rubber Grout Float
  • Sponge
  • Bucket for grout
  • Bucket for cool clean water
  • Drill with Mixing Bit
  • Safety glasses
  • Knee pads
  • Dusk mask
  • Vacuum

Safety first

Make sure you wear safety glasses when applying grout. Also, use a mask when mixing the grout as it is very dusty. Finally, knee pads help to make the job less painful.

Mixing Grout

Since grout plays both an aesthetic and functional role, it is important that the grout is applied properly. If the grout is not applied correctly, the grout could separate from the ceramic tiles over time leading to frequent repair and maintenance. Also, if the grout is not applied properly your ceramic tile project could become susceptible to water damage.

Applying grout to ceramic tile

To begin the application of grout, first mix up the grout mix with the appropriate amount of water as per the grout instructions. It is best to pour the water into the bucket first and then slowly add in the grout mixture. Use the drill and mixing bit while pouring in the grout mixture.

Once the grout mixture is loose enough to flow, but not runny, it is of the correct consistency.

Applying Grout to Ceramic Tile

To begin applying the grout, first remove any spacers that you may have placed between the ceramic tiles when installing them.

Next make sure the ceramic tile area is clean from dust. You may want to run a vacuum hose over the ceramic tile area, focusing carefully on the seams where the grout will be applied.

Starting in one corner of the ceramic tile area apply the grout to the ceramic tile using a rubber grout float. Work the grout float at a 45 degree angle over the seams. Make sure the grout is tightly worked into the seams.

Grouting tile

Allow the grout to sit a few minutes and then using a sponge wipe the surface area of the ceramic tile to remove the dry film / haze. Remember to frequently rinse the sponge in the bucket of clean water. Also, when using the sponge, go carefully near the grout lines so that you do not inadvertently remove the grout from the ceramic tile seams.

If the ceramic tile area is a large area, you may need to apply grout in sections, as you do not want to allow the grout to set too long before wiping down the ceramic tiles.

After you have applied grout to the entire ceramic tile area, get a fresh bucket of water and again wipe down all of the ceramic tiles. You may need to repeat this process 2 or 3 times to totally eliminate the dry film / haze.

Allow the grout to cure per the grout manufacturers instructions and then apply a grout sealer.

For information on installing a shower pan membrane liner for a ceramic tile shower, see the Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation Ebook from  The Shower Pan Membrane Liner EBook will quickly teach you the step-by-step process for installing the shower pan membrane liner correctly. It includes instructions on framing the shower stall, pouring the pre-slope and shower base mortar, and installing the shower pan membrane liner.

See’s Ceramic Tile Calculator

See my “How to Tile a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower” Ebook to learn how to tile your own shower:  For a detailed set of instructions on tiling a shower floor and walls, including pictures for every step in the process, see my “How to Tile Custom Ceramic Tile Shower Ebook”.

Related Information

Additional Ceramic Tile Resources from


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